Push notifications are known to drive favorable business outcomes such as increased user acquisition, engagement, and retention.

When your company considers a push provider, you’ll want to start your search understanding what to look for, and what can provide ongoing, sustainable value to your business as you grow. Below, we’ve outlined seven important factors to think about when choosing a push notification provider.

1. Ease of Implementation

The first thing you should consider when evaluating your push provider options is the provider’s ease of use. While many products in the space will boast a plethora of “bells and whistles,” implementing these features can be cumbersome. You need to plant the apple tree before you can harvest the fruits of your labor.  Before collecting your ripe apples, or in this case harvesting results from your tree of push notifications, you’ll need to implement the push product.

It can be useful to compare setup times and explore what it means to get started with the products you’re considering. While some providers may require an extensive setup process involving their team and/or support engineers, others may offer you more freedom to implement the solution independently.  In the push industry, time required to get up and running with notifications can vary greatly. Providers with easy implementation may only require 10 to 20 minutes of setup time, while others may take months to configure before you’re able to begin sending notifications. Getting your notifications up and running without extensive setup, developer support, and the expense of company resources can provide significant advantages. Remember, the sooner you plant your push notification tree, the sooner you can pick and sell those apples.

2. Usability

We human beings love an easy solution. Another quality  to look for in a push notification provider is a solution’s ease and speed of use.  Look for a product that doesn’t monopolize your team’s valuable time and resources. Many products in the push notification space can be cumbersome and clunky to adopt, so go with an option that doesn’t present a steep learning curve or other barriers to getting started.

Consider a product that’s marketer and developer friendly, that’s usable for all members of your team. It’s helpful if a provider offers clear documentation with comprehensive examples and/or guidance that appears directly in the product interface. While some providers  require you to talk to their team or scroll through pages and pages of settings in order to activate new features, others provide easy, self-serve mechanisms to implement advanced functionality.  The easier it is for your team to build and customize your communication strategy, the more value you will be able to extract from the platform.

3. Try Before You Buy

Look for a provider that offers a free plan or trial that will let you get to know the product’s functionality. If you can experiment with a product’s features before adopting it, you can ascertain whether the solution is right for you. Choosing a self-serve product or hopping onto a free trial will let you test drive a product’s features before buying and understand whether the product meets your expectations and specifications.

If you want the freedom to get started or make changes to your plan without going through a sales person, then look for a provider that offers self-serve options for creating and upgrading your account.

Evaluate whether the push product can deliver for you before you commit to paying for a plan. With a product you can try before you buy, you’ll be able to evaluate the first two priorities on this list and see if the platform’s features and its ease of implementation are worth your while.

4. Robust SDK

If you want to send highly personalized and relevant content to users, you need to centralize your user data. Choosing a product with a robust SDK means you’ll be able to keep all of your customer data centralized and up to date, all while tracking key user data, such as when people visit your website or open your app and how many times they visit your website or open your app. An SDK that automatically collects user data and also allows you to unify your other data sources through integrations or list uploads is necessary if you want to customize and automate messages for maximum impact. Some products on the market make it difficult to get data in and out of the system or charge extra for this capability, so choose a product with a strong SDK.

5. Advanced Analytics

Evaluating and refining your push campaigns as you go along is crucial if you want to maximize results for your business. When considering a push product, choose a solution that allows you to accurately track the outcomes of your campaigns.  You’ll want to know how your messaging impacts user behavior, such as direct, indirect, and unattributed user actions.

Some outcomes you might want to track include message delivery to end user devices, number of users who engaged with your messages, message click-through rates, and user-level data for sends, receives, and clicks. These metrics are powerful for driving user engagement, retention, and sales. Evaluating key metrics as you refine your push notification strategy empowers you to build out user-relevance models and glean more value from future campaigns. Measuring the success of your push campaigns is critical for driving revenue for your company and understanding the contribution that your messaging strategy has had on your bottom line.

6. Message Automation and Customization

Alongside robust analytics, you’ll want to prioritize message automation and customization. It’s smart to choose a provider that allows you to send automated and customized messages, ideally without support, in order to encourage users to continue connecting with your app in a scalable way.

Consider a provider that lets you automate and personalize messages for hyper-specific user segments, such as inactive users, users who’ve reached level five on your app, users in Germany, and so on. If you choose a provider that offers robust messaging automation capabilities and customizable segmentation triggers, you’ll be able to target subsets of users with content that will resonate with their experience and encourage them to take a desired action.

Choose a provider that lets you easily differentiate and target your users based on the content they view, the way they interact with your product, their preferences, and their current position in  the user journey.

Remember, customization is powerful in driving positive outcomes for your app, such as increased engagement and sales. Consumers increasingly expect personalized experiences from brands. Data shows that personalization can reduce customer acquisition costs by up to 50 percent and increase marketing spend efficiency by up to 30 percent.  With that, 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization.

7. Adaptability

Notifications are not a static channel. The space is constantly evolving as mobile and web providers update their policies and user preferences change. When you choose a provider, you’ll want a solution that stays up-to-date with the rapidly changing space, as Google and Apple constantly make feature changes. It’s important to pick a notification provider that actively communicates what’s new and supported and anticipates what’s coming. With the technical details covered, you won’t have to do additional engineering or read Apple’s documentation to stay current and compliant with what’s supported. Independently staying ahead of the industry can be  taxing on your company’s resources, so it’s ideal to choose a provider that stays ahead of the game on major industry updates.

Eager to expand your multichannel strategy beyond mobile push? Read on to compare web push providers and their unique capabilities.

>>Comparing Web Push Providers with OneSignal>>